14 February 2007 08:52 [Source: ICIS news]
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Total’s chemicals unit posted a 31% on-year rise in its fourth quarter adjusted operating income to €374m ($485.7m) on higher margins, the French energy major said on Wednesday.
The company also appointed Christophe de Margerie, currently a board member and president of exploration and production, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to free its chairman from dual responsibility.
Thierry Desmarest will remain as chairman.
On its results, Total said petrochemical margins in Europe were higher in the three months to 31 December compared with the same period a year ago and with the previous quarter as naphtha prices fell.
Income from base chemicals jumped 115% to €168m in the fourth quarter from the same period a year ago while that of specialties fell 2% to €82m.
Its overall chemical sales rose 7% to €4.6bn while the adjusted net operating income for the segment fell 21% to €255m as deferred tax credits related to Arkema divestment amounted to €151m.
For the full year, adjusted operating income for the chemicals segment rose 6% to €1.2bn from a year ago. Its net operating income fell 9% to €884m, while sales were up 14% at €19.1bn.
The return on average capital employed (ROACE) for the chemicals segment was 13% in 2006 compared with 15% a year ago.
At group level, the company’s adjusted operating income in the fourth quarter fell 14% to €5.5bn from the same period a year ago.
Adjusted net income fell 10% to €2.7bn, while sales were 6% lower at €36.4bn.
"Crude oil prices, on average, increased relative to 2005, driven by robust demand and sustained production capacity utilisation rates, said Desmarest, Total’s chairman and CEO.
"Refinery margins, while significantly lower than in 2005, remained on average at satisfactory levels."
For the full year, Total’s adjusted operating income fell 7% to €25.2bn as on lower refining margins. Its adjusted net income rose 5% to €12.6bn, while sales was up 12% to €153.8bn.
Looking ahead, the company aims to continue its polymer production, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, while improving the competitiveness of its operations in mature markets, it said.
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